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Initial anticipation high for R.A. vs. CC

R.A. Dickey #43 of the Mets delivers a

R.A. Dickey #43 of the Mets delivers a pitch in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals. (June 2, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

The matchup created excitement as soon as it was announced: R.A. Dickey, the hottest pitcher on the planet, versus the Yankees' CC Sabathia on national television Sunday night at Citi Field.

Well, almost everyone is excited.

"You know, I'm really no more excited about it than it would be if I was starting against the Pirates or the Padres," Dickey said Friday. "It's really for me another game on the schedule. I think that it helps me put it in perspective. I mean, it's one of three games that we have to play in this series against a good team. Every team in the big leagues is a good team, for that matter. I think it's been built up to some kind of crescendo, probably, but for me, I will attack it no differently."

That sentiment probably is not going to win ratings points for ESPN. But Dickey-Sabathia is a marquee matchup, one that Mets manager Terry Collins said he would tune in for if he were not busy in the home dugout.

"I'm a baseball fan," Collins said. "I've been a baseball fan my whole life. I think this game is about the classic matchups. Anybody. I don't care who they are. If you have a night off and there's a good game on TV, [Justin] Verlander against Jered Weaver, you want to watch it because you want to watch the best. I think Sunday night is going to be fun to watch and to be a part of it."

It won't be fun for the Yankees if Dickey continues his otherworldly pitching. The knuckleballer is 11-1 with a 2.00 ERA and has thrown consecutive one-hitters (against Tampa Bay and Baltimore) in his last two starts. He has allowed two runs in his last six starts, all of which he has won.

Dickey has become the toast of the town. The Mets gave him the leadoff spot in meeting with the media before Friday's Subway Series opener. For comparison's sake, the Yankees had Derek Jeter take the podium before the first Subway Series at Yankee Stadium earlier this month.

For Dickey, it's all part of a whirlwind season in which his personal journey has been well chronicled after the publication of his autobiography. His incredible run has created national headlines, such as Friday, when National League All-Star manager Tony La Russa said he is considering starting Dickey in the July 10 game in Kansas City.

"I've given it thought," La Russa told The former Cardinals manager also said he has concerns that Dickey's knuckler could be hard for an unfamiliar catcher to handle, but La Russa added: "You've got to trust the skill of the All-Stars. I think we'll be fine."

Dickey said he is trying not to get caught up in all of the attention he has been getting as a sudden star at age 37. He was asked if his newfound success is beyond his wildest dreams.

"It's not beyond the scope," he said. "I have a big imagination. There have been countless times where I have been running around my neighborhood at 11 o'clock at night after putting four kids down where I've visualized being a big-league All-Star.

"So it's not like I haven't thought about it or envisioned it. In fact, I've done that quite a bit over my career and so because of that, I feel like I have a perspective that this is something I've grown into, not something that's happened overnight.

"Now that may be the perspective of others, but for me in the moment with it, I've worked very hard at my craft and I'm hoping to continue it."

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